View Full Version : Is it possible to learn programming through the web alone?

May 21st, 2007, 04:39 PM
As the title says, is it possible to teach oneself programming using freely available material on the web only?

Also. what are the most common programming languages in the Linux world?

Thanks very much in advance, I know these are quite naive questions :)

May 21st, 2007, 04:44 PM
I guess it depends on the way you learn best. I prefer to learn from books.

May 21st, 2007, 04:46 PM
Yes it is, but I have to say I prefer to have an old fashioned book to hand to get me started. There are huge amounts of support out there in terms of documentation and forums for just about any open source programming language.

I reckon the most common languages (depending what you want to do) are PHP, Java, Perl (web and desktop scripting), C, C++ (grown up software programming) and Python (a bit like PHP), while Ruby is on the way up for web dev too. There's also shell scripting, tcl, the list goes on and on ...

May 21st, 2007, 04:48 PM
Well considering just a few short months ago I was a hapless windows user with little knowledge of linux, I'd say my guess of an answer would be yes. I know I've learned a lot of things from the internet. It seems to me that the internet has reached or is quickly reaching the critical mass point for which it stores all the information one may want. I mean just look at wikipedia... it does depend how you learn best, the internet isn't always the best means of education, it certainly doesn't give you a degree (then again, there are scores of unqualified people who graduate after having cheated/found other means to get through education).

May 21st, 2007, 04:51 PM
I must say that I am a book person too, in fact I recently bought a book on Ubuntu and am half way through it.

The reason I ask, is that even though I have always been interested in programming because I am fascinated by it, I would not want to invest too much initially should it turn out to be something I can't do.

I did do some very basic programming in school as part of computer class, I remember having programmed a game using many 'if then..' commands, but that was a long time ago.

May 21st, 2007, 06:50 PM
As the title says, is it possible to teach oneself programming using freely available material on the web only?

Yes, absolutely. Had it not been, we wouldn't have half the developers we have today (made up statistic, but you get the idea).

Also. what are the most common programming languages in the Linux world?

C, C++, Python, Perl, C#, Lisp.

Check out the Programming Talk forum, where you'll find lots of resources for getting started.

May 21st, 2007, 08:14 PM
I think learning the convention is more important than learning the syntax. Languages come and go, but the structure and logic remain pretty similar. Once you learn one language well, you can apply the same concepts to many others. In my humble opinion, learning JavaScript is a great place to start, and Google can help you find more tutorials and example code than you would ever read in your life. Your mileage may vary.

May 22nd, 2007, 12:08 AM
As a starting point, I would recommend learning a little bit of BASH (http://www.linux.org/docs/ldp/howto/Bash-Prog-Intro-HOWTO.html) (Bourne Again SHell), which is the most common shell scripting language used in Linux.

May 22nd, 2007, 12:52 AM
I'd recommend Ruby.

May 22nd, 2007, 05:29 AM
If you want to learn Python, knock yourself out. I would say it is a language that you can easily learn thru just the internet alone. :D There are other languages that are easy to learn over the net such as Ruby and HTML. (These are launguages I learned just from over the net, and I am still learning)

May 22nd, 2007, 08:11 AM
A copy of Dive Into Python (http://diveintopython.org/) is installed with ubuntu-desktop and edubuntu-desktop packages. If you don't have it, it's the diveintopython package (diveintopython-zh for a chinese version).

Here's the default location for it:


May 22nd, 2007, 09:02 AM
Thanks very much for all the great input, I never forget what a great community we have here. I am currently looking into Python as I have heard so much about it. It would be great if I could one day be in the position to contribute a little towards Linux/Ubuntu in any way.